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Is The Surveillance Aspect Of The Patriot Act Constitutional?

866 words - 4 pages

Knowledge is power, and with that power comes control and wealth. Any government would want to obtain through surveillance all the knowledge it can about its citizens and the Patriot Act does just that. The Patriot Act came about shortly after the 9/11 when the American public looked to the government for protection against future attacks. Many in congress did not have time to read nor thoroughly debate the legislation. Numerous times in the past the United States government has placed more emphasis on security than civil liberties especially during national crisis. Most Americans think our Constitutional rights are absolute, but they would be wrong in assuming so. The passage of the Patriot ...view middle of the document...

Anyone including a United States citizen can be deemed an unlawful enemy combatant if the President determines that the person provided material support for terrorism. For example, if you support a Middle East charity and that charity is later determined to have contributed to terrorists or labeled a terrorist organization you can be prosecuted. Likewise recently the majority leader of the United States Senate labeled some citizens as domestic terrorists simply for peacefully protesting federal policy on land management in Nevada. Citizens will less likely give to lawful charities or peacefully protest their grievances if there is a possibility they will be labeled as giving material support to terrorism or labeled as a domestic terrorist.
The Patriot Act has infringed on the right to privacy, which is contained in Fourth Amendment. Government agents, using national security letters, can obtain all your records including business, school, internet, and library. Government agents can also enter your residence without your knowledge. Because of the delay clause you will not be able to make sure the agents adhered to the warrants description, and the agents, depending on the warrant may not have to tell you that they were even there. All the information obtained during the search can be held indefinitely. The Fourth Amendment requires that you be given notice prior to the search.
The National Security Agency collects, analyzes, and stores all electronic communications (Metadata) which violates the Fourth Amendment. When Senator Wyden asked the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper in March of 2013 “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper’s...

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